USS Tinosa was a Gato-class submarine; this class formed the core of the United States submarine service and was largely responsible for the destruction of the Japanese merchant marine, as well as a major portion of the Japanese Imperial Navy during World War II. She was commissioned on January 15, 1943 with Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Randall Daspit in command.
Tinosa completed a total of 11 war patrols and was en route to the assigned area of her 12th patrol when Japan surrendered. She received nine battle stars for her services in World War II, as well as the Presidential Unit Citation for three of her war patrols.
Tinosa’s first patrol was a frustrating one for Lt. Cmdr. Daspit. Tinosa encountered the 19,000-ton cargo ship Tonan Maru No. 3, which was the largest tanker in the Japanese fleet. Tinosa fired two torpedoes causing the enemy ship to be dead in the water. However, those two torpedoes were the only ones out of 15 total fired that detonated, despite excellent positioning by Tinosa. The sub was forced to abandon the fight and return to Pearl Harbor with one remaining torpedo in an attempt to figure out what had happened. It was later discovered that a faulty firing pin was to blame.
Tinosa’s subsequent patrols were more successful and she was credited with sinking several enemy vessels throughout her career. She conducted missions other than submerged and surfaced attacks, such as landing an intelligence team and their supplies at Labian Point in North Borneo. She was also responsible for testing new FM sonar equipment used to locate Japanese mines. During her ninth patrol, Tinosa was charged with observing Japanese shipping and taking reconnaissance photographs. Tinosa also aided in a rescue mission; while sailing to the Sea of Japan in May 1945 she came across 10 survivors of a ditched B-29, and was able to bring them to shore. Operating as part of a wolf pack, Tinosa was instrumental in initiating Operation Barney by plotting mines in the Tsushima Strait.
In June 1946, Tinosa was placed in reserve and the following January she was placed out of commission. Due to the Korean War she was re-commissioned at the start of 1952, remaining in service for almost two years. She was decommissioned for the final time December 2, 1953 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on September 1, 1958.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially throughout conflicts of the last century, submarines also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. However, these risks extend beyond the inherent dangers that existed while operating the vessels during military conflicts. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were also common aboard submarines because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Furthermore, the enclosed environment of submarines put servicemen at an even higher risk of exposure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with or served on submarines should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.